John Huntley remembers the two ‘Bob’s’ on Granada Reports

Bob Greaves?

He was great bloke, Bob. He was absolutely fantastic. One of the reasons I really liked Bob was that he never appeared to show any kind of resentment to the fact that I was becoming a co-presenter with him. I think being… Bob Greaves, Stuart Hall obviously for the BBC, but Bob Greaves was one of these characters… like a guy in the north east, where I’m from, called Mike Neville, who became synonymous with the region, and synonymous with the station – he was ‘Mr Granada’. Consummate professional. I think towards the end he got a bit bored, frankly, and that affected his performance, and if he was around today he would probably admit that. But I liked him a lot, I thought he was great, and he was… he used to get all this fan mail, and everybody got a letter back – he was terrific. ….

The other interesting guy is Bob Smithies. Bob was very avuncular, he was this award-winning Guardian photographer, big mates with Simon Hoggart for example, so I didn’t realise that until I read a book by Simon Hoggart. But once he came to Granada, which was a completely different career, he never took another photograph. I remember him telling me that. We did a competition years later which he judged, but… I think that’s weird, isn’t it? But he was ‘Mr News Bulletin Man’, Bob, and I always think he felt a bit fed up with that, and he wasn’t perhaps given as much opportunity as Bob Greaves, but he was very good. He had this calm air when he was reading the news bulletin. I remember on one occasion for some reason they wired him up with sensors on his heart and his pulse… so this calm, collected man, “…small chip pan fire in Oswaldtwistle…” the meter was… he was off the meter! He was clinically dead inside, all this stuff was churning around but he didn’t ever exhibit it.

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